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Feature Release: Return to Panama Canal unlocks memories of Boston-based Coast Guardsman’s youth

Thu, 01/19/2017 - 12:00

Story by Petty Officer 2nd Class Cynthia Oldham

On the 20th anniversary of his childhood departure from Panama, Coast Guard Petty Officer Luis Perez found himself in a familiar but immensely faraway place.

When he was five years old, Perez moved with his family from Puerto Rico to Panama where his father was a contractor at Howard Air Force Base. His family lived in Panama City, where Perez would often watch lights shining in the distance from the long line of ships waiting to transit the canal.

Little did Perez know, exactly twenty years later to the day, he would be on a ship crossing the canal – as a crewmember aboard the Boston-based Coast Guard Cutter Spencer.

Perez was 10 years old in January of 1997 when his family departed Panama and moved to the United States.

When he was old enough, Perez enlisted in the Coast Guard as a reservist where he served at Coast Guard Sector Saint Petersburg while he attended college.

“I joined the Coast Guard because I wanted to be part of a service with missions I am passionate about and directly serves the American people,” said Perez.

Upon graduating with his bachelor’s degree in history, Perez accepted temporary active duty orders to the Coast Guard’s Maritime Law Enforcement Academy, in South Carolina, where he served for three and a half years.

From there, Perez went on to provide support to units at the Special Missions Training Center in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and then at Port Security Unit 309, a rapid deployment force based in Port Clinton, Ohio.

Recently, Perez was offered the opportunity to integrate into full active duty and he seized the opportunity by accepting orders aboard the 270-foot Coast Guard Cutter Spencer.

As a member of the support team aboard Spencer, Perez plays an important behind-the-scenes role. He is an expert in coordinating financial logistics and making certain the cutter maintains necessary supplies and services to carry out Spencer’s missions, which include law enforcement, marine environmental protection, and homeland security.

“I chose to be a storekeeper because it's a career that allows me to diversify on a number of career paths. It also provides me the opportunity to assist all other rates with logistical support to get the mission done,” Perez said.

Perez is also a qualified boarding team member and serves as a Spanish translator for migrant interdiction and non-compliant vessel pursuit operations.

The Spencer’s captain, Cmdr. Peter Niles, said Coast Guardsman like Petty Officer Perez is what makes the service so great.

Going through the Panama Canal is a bucket-list item for a lot of people, but seeing the transit though Perez’s eyes, after learning his history, made the crew proud to have him as a shipmate.

“It is easy to forget we are a melting pot of society, if we all take an extra moment to learn more about our shipmates, something not Coast Guard related, we see just how diverse and remarkable we all are as individuals, as we did with Petty Officer Perez’s story of perseverance,” Niles said.

When he looks into his future, Perez sees himself serving in the Coast Guard for years to come. He plans to eventually couple his life and service experience with his history degree to become a teacher.

“Had it not been for the Coast Guard, I would have not been able to return to the canal – a journey very few in this world can take,” he said. “Had it not been for living in Panama as a child, I would have not been so bold to take risks and embark in adventures like I have had in the Coast Guard.”

The day he went back to Panama, Perez saw his past and present come together, and said it is his Coast Guard experiences and memories of Panama that will guide him into future endeavors.

Coast Guard Cutter Valiant crew returns to homeport following 5-week Florida Straits patrol

Thu, 01/19/2017 - 11:00

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Valiant returned Friday to their homeport at Naval Station Mayport following a 34-day patrol.

During their deployment to the Florida Straits, the Valiant crew rescued, cared for and repatriated 307 Cuban migrants attempting to enter the United States.

"Searching for migrants at sea can be a challenging task,” said Lt. Katherine Ustler, the Valiant’s operations officer. “One group of migrants flagged us down in the middle of the night by flashing a light and waving their hands at us. The vessels they use are unsafe and rarely include lifesaving or navigation equipment."

The patrol also included a port call in Key West, where crewmembers volunteered to aid in the preservation of the Coast Guard Cutter Ingham Maritime Museum ship. Valiant crewmembers conducted multiple training exercises including helicopter operations training to help sharpen crew skills.

“I am proud of the hard work and dedication the Valiant crew put in during this deployment,” said Cmdr. Timothy Cronin, commanding officer of the Cutter Valiant. “Their commitment to duty and protecting their nation helped ensure the success of our mission. We will continue to help secure our borders, but saving lives will always remain the Coast Guard's top priority.”

The Valiant is a multi-mission 210-foot Medium-Endurance Cutter. Missions include search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, marine environmental protection, homeland security and national defense operations.

For more information about the Coast Guard Cutter Valiant, visit: https://www.uscg.mil/lantarea/cgcValiant/.

For breaking news follow us on Twitter @uscgsoutheast.

Coast Guard rescues 3 boaters from sunken vessel off Big Island

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 18:01

HONOLULU — Three boaters were rescued by the Coast Guard after their 48-foot sailing vessel Bobo Link sank two and a half miles off of Hapuna Beach, Big Island, Wednesday.

Rescued are three Big Island residents:

Steven Jenkins, 48-years-old, owner and operator of the Bobo Link
Brandan Jenkins, 23-years-old
Nathan Gibson, 43-years-old

The crew of the USCGC Kiska (WPB 1336), homeported in Hilo, safely recovered the men from their life raft and will transport them to Kawaihae Harbor.

"We cannot stress enough the importance of carrying and properly registering an emergency positioning indicating radio beacon which is ultimately what saved the lives of these men," said Petty Officer 1st Class Tyler Peterson, a watchstander at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center. "While the men also were able to contact emergency services personnel via cell phone, we strongly recommend boaters carry a working VHF radio in the event that cell service in unavailable."

At 1:48 p.m., watchstanders at the Coast Guard Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Honolulu received a hit from a registered EPIRB.

Minutes later, watchstanders at the Sector Honolulu command center received a relayed call from the Hawaii County Fire Department notifying them that a sailing vessel, with three persons aboard, sank off of the Big Island.

Sector Honolulu diverted the Kiska crew already on patrol in the area to the scene where an HCFD helicopter crew was to provide oversight until they arrived.

No injuries were reported.

Imagery will be provided as soon as it's available.

USCGC Kukui departs Hawaii for midlife maintenance in Baltimore

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 14:45

      
U.S. Coast Guard photos and graphic by Lt. j.g. Bethany Gollin

Exactly 19 years to the day after its commissioning, Coast Guard Cutter Kukui (WLB 203) set sail for the last time from Sand Island in Honolulu. The 46 member crew are sailing the cutter to the Coast Guard Yards in Baltimore for its regular scheduled midlife maintenance. When Kukui leaves the yards, it will have a new crew and will be voyaging to a new homeport in Sitka, Alaska. As the cutter and crew depart, they leave with a new mission, a mission of aloha. They strive to bring the strong friendship and traditions of Hawaii to the East Coast and beyond to each crewmember’s future unit throughout the Coast Guard.

“The Kukui has a long history in Hawaii and the surrounding South Pacific. Because of that, it is especially sad to see it go,” said Lt. j.g. Bethany Gollin, Kukui operations department. “This juniper class, 225-foot cutter is the third vessel to bare the Kukui name in the Hawaiian Islands.”

The first cutter Kukui was built by the New York Shipping Company in 1908. The vessel’s first of many adventures was the long journey around Cape Horn, before the Panama Canal was built, to its homeport of Honolulu. The cutter served in the Hawaiian Islands until 1946. During those 38 years, the vessel’s crew primarily performed aids to navigation duties in the Pacific. In 1941, when the U.S. was attacked by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor, the 190-foot buoy tender’s crew was conducting standard in-port weekend duties, unarmed and moored to Pier Four in Honolulu Harbor. Following the attack, the Kukui took part in the Battle of Niihau by transporting an Army combat squad to remote Niihau Island in response to reports that a Japanese fighter pilot crashed onto the island and took the few inhabitants hostage. It was later discovered that they locals had already dealt with the threat.


In 1946, a new 339-foot cargo ship was name Kukui and came to Hawaii where it served until 1972. Its crew constructed Long Range Navigation Stations, also known as

LORAN, and provided support to Pacific Islanders in remote locations such as the delivery of food, medicine and building materials. A truly unique vessel, the second Kukui was decommissioned in 1972 and sold to the Philippine navy. It was renamed Mactan and homeported in Subic Bay.

Commissioned on Jan. 9, 1998, the current Kukui continued the heritage started so many years ago by its predecessors. It is one of a fleet of optimally manned, modern and extremely capable sea going buoy tenders serving around the nation. Over the past two decades, Kukui’s crews have been a servicer of aids to navigation from the Hawaiian Islands to Midway and American Samoa. They have provided support to developing island nations by conducting bilateral fisheries law enforcement and continued the humanitarian mission of its predecessors to bring aid to our remote neighbors.

With the Kukui going to its midlife maintenance, the district will temporarily be reduced to two buoy tenders, an aids to navigation team and the regional dive locker to maintain aids throughout the region. Careful planning and prioritization of ATON projects will be employed during the gap in cutter coverage to minimize the impact of the asset’s absence.
“The Kukui’slong histories in Hawaii and namesake add to the significance of the cutter’s departure after over a century of presence and service in the Pacific,” said Gollin.

“It is named after the kukui tree, which is not only the Hawaii state tree, but also a symbol of Hawaii that has deep roots in the traditions of the islands.”

The kukui tree and its valuable nut traveled with ancient Hawaiian voyagers in their malia, outrigger voyaging canoes, a staple of their voyage kit. The nut was used for food and medicine while the oil from the white kernels fueled torches and stone lamps lighting and guiding their malias home. Today, the kukui nut can be seen all over the islands made into decorative leis for celebrations and ceremonies.

“Therefore, it was only appropriate that the Kukui and our crew be sent off in local style with a Hawaiian lei hanging from the bow and a blessing from a local kahu, a Hawaiian priest, who wished them a safe journey as they set sail for new waters,” said Gollin.

This month the Kukui heads back to the East Coast, but this time, unlike the first Kukui, the crew can take the short cut through the Panama Canal. The current crew of the Kukui is a lucky group of Coast Guard men and women who not only get the title of, “the last Kukui (WLB 203) crew in Hawaii,” but also had the privilege to carry the Kukui traditions throughout the Pacific for the past few years. They conducted law enforcement and humanitarian missions with unique and remote port calls such as, Kanton, Rarotonga and Samoa.

Kukui has long been known as the workhorse of the Pacific. The following quote was found in a story written by retired Coast Guard Capt. Jim Donahue, who served as a civil engineer and navigator from 1969-1971, “Hazardous duty? Some of the time. Demanding duty? Most of the time. Rewarding duty? Yes, all of the time.”

These sentiments are echoed by the Kukui crew who now sail on a 43-day patrol through the Panama Canal also known as the ditch, seeing waters new to many of them and visiting a handful of new port calls. Fair winds and following seas Kukui. Travel safe and spread your aloha!

UPDATE 3: Cargo vessel in tow after engine room fire

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 14:19

NEW ORLEANS – The cargo vessel Alliance St. Louis is in tow by a commercial salvage company, Wednesday, after suffering an engine room fire approximately 150 miles south of Southwest Pass. 

The tug Crosby Endeavor arrived on scene at 10:45 a.m., Tuesday, with a fire team aboard to clear the Alliance St Louis’ engine room for safety. The tug put the cargo vessel in tow at approximately 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, to take the cargo vessel to Sabine Bank Pilot Station near Port Arthur, Texas.

The Coast Guard and good Samaritans responded to the report of a vessel on fire approximately 135 miles southwest of Southwest Pass, Louisiana, Monday.

Coast Guard Cutter Brant crew arrived on scene at approximately 6:00 a.m., Tuesday, to relieve the good Samaritan vessel, Mariya Moran, from standing by for safety.

No injuries or pollution have been reported.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

Astoria-based Coast Guardsman dies while attending training in Virginia

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 14:17

WASHINGTON — An Astoria, Oregon-based Coast Guardsman died Monday at Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown in Virginia.

Lt. j.g. Devin J. Hepner, 34, of Logan, Utah, was found unresponsive in his barracks room Monday morning and was transported by local emergency medical services to Mary Immaculate Hospital where he later died.

Hepner was serving at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River/Marine Safety Unit Portland in Astoria, Oregon, and was attending the Investigating Officer Course in Yorktown.

 "We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss,” said Capt. Jay Vann, commanding officer of Training Center Yorktown. “We only got to know Devin a short time, but his passing will be felt by many." "We thank him for his dedicated service; our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time," said Vann.

"The loss of Devin comes as a great shock to us," said Capt. Tom Griffitts, commanding officer of Marine Safety Unit Portland. "He was a seasoned Coast Guard officer who leaves behind a legacy of service protecting lives on our waterways.” “He will be missed as we keep his family in our prayers,” said Griffitts.

For more information, please contact Lt. Abbie Harms (503) 240-9347.

Coast Guard urges mariners to exercise caution during forecasted heavy weather

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 14:14
Coast Guard members train in high surf to prepare for any maritime emergency during rough weather conditions near Ocean Beach, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Loumania Stewart

SAN FRANCISCO — The Coast Guard urges boaters and beachgoers Wednesday to exercise caution in and around the waters along the Northern California coast due to forecasted weather conditions through the weekend.

The National Weather Service is expecting cold temperatures, rain, high winds and heavy seas to affect the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Owners of small crafts (skiffs, kayaks, paddleboards, etc.) are strongly encouraged to properly secure them and ensure they are marked with identifying information in the event they break free.

The National Weather Service forecast can be found here.

The Coast Guard also recommends that mariners always:
* Stay informed and aware of weather conditions and monitor the progress and strength of currents through local television, radio and internet. Check the current and expected weather and water conditions before heading out.
* File a float plan with a family member or friend, which includes information about the boat, the number of passengers aboard, the destination of where the vessel will be operating and an expected time of return.
* Have a working marine-band radio and use VHF-FM channel 16 in the event of an emergency.
* Wear a life jacket.
* Carry marine flares on board the vessel.
* Ensure bilge pumps are operational and vessels are secure for heavy winds and rain

Astoria-based Coast Guardsman dies while attending training in Virginia

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 14:02

WASHINGTON — An Astoria, Oregon-based Coast Guardsman died Monday at Coast Guard Training Center Yorktown in Virginia.

Lt. j.g. Devin J. Hepner, 34, of Logan, Utah, was found unresponsive in his barracks room Monday morning and was transported by local emergency medical services to Mary Immaculate Hospital where he later died.

Hepner was serving at Coast Guard Sector Columbia River/Marine Safety Unit Portland in Astoria, Oregon, and was attending the Investigating Officer Course in Yorktown.

 "We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss,” said Capt. Jay Vann, commanding officer of Training Center Yorktown. “We only got to know Devin a short time, but his passing will be felt by many." "We thank him for his dedicated service; our thoughts are with his family during this difficult time," said Vann.

"The loss of Devin comes as a great shock to us," said Capt. Tom Griffitts, commanding officer of Marine Safety Unit Portland. "He was a seasoned Coast Guard officer who leaves behind a legacy of service protecting lives on our waterways.” “He will be missed as we keep his family in our prayers,” said Griffitts.

For more information, please contact (757) 628-4791.

Coast Guard issues temporary safety zone near Morro Bay Harbor entrance

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 12:00

LOS ANGELES — The Captain of the Port will be enforcing a temporary safety zone due to hazardous conditions in the vicinity of the Morro Bay Harbor entrance from 12 a.m., January 19, 2017, to 12 a.m., February 6, 2017.

The safety zone will encompass all navigable waters from the surface to the sea floor near the inside and outside of the mouth of the Morro Bay Harbor entrance.

This action is necessary to reduce significant hazards subject to the vessels, the harbor and the public during periods of poor weather conditions. The Coast Guard will energize the Morro Bay “Rough Bar Warning Light” to signify that rough bar conditions exist at the harbor’s entrance.

No vessel or person is permitted to operate in the temporary safety zone unless authorized by the Captain of the Port or her designated representative.

The safety zone will only be enforced when the Captain of the Port or her designated representative deems it necessary because of hazardous bar conditions and enforcement will cease immediately upon conditions returning to safe levels. The general boating public will be notified prior to the enforcement of the temporary safety zone via a broadcast notice to mariners.

Section 1232 of Title 33 U.S. Code (Ports and Waterways Safety Act) provides penalties for all persons in violation of this order:

Any person who is found by the Secretary, after notice and an opportunity for a hearing, to have violated this chapter or a regulation issued hereunder shall be liable to the United States for a civil penalty, not to exceed $88,613 for each violation. Each day of a continuing violation shall constitute a separate violation.

The amount of such civil penalty shall be assessed by the Secretary, or his designee by written notice. In determining the amount of such penalty, the Secretary shall take into account the nature, circumstances, extent and gravity of the prohibited acts committed and, with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, and history or prior offenses, ability to pay, and such other matters as justice may require.

Any person who willfully and knowing violates this chapter or any regulation issued hereunder commits a class D felony.

Any vessel subject to the provisions of this chapter, which is used in violation of this chapter, or any regulations issued hereunder, shall be liable in rem for any civil penalty assured pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and may be proceeded against the United States district court for any district in which such vessel may be found.

The Coast Guard urges mariners to always: 

  •   Wear life jackets while on the water.
  •   Always have a working marine-band radio on board.
  •   Carry marine flares on board the vessel.
  •   Ensure bilge pumps are operational and vessels are secure for heavy winds and rain.
  •   Stay Informed - The public should be aware of weather conditions and monitor progress through local television, radio and internet. Check the current and expected weather and water conditions before heading out, and be aware that weather conditions can quickly change.
  •   File a float plan with friends, family members and local marinas before heading out. The list should include the number of passengers aboard the vessel, vessel's destination and expected time of return.

 For more information on boating safety, visit www.uscgboating.org.

 For more information, you may contact the Los Angeles-Long Beach command duty officer via VHF radio or at 310-521-3801

Corrected: Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star arrives at McMurdo Station, Antarctica

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 09:43

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star backs and rams through dense ice off the Antarctic coast, Jan. 15, 2017. The Polar Star and its crew work to establish a resupply channel through Antarctic ice to enable ships to reach the National Science Foundation's McMurdo Station. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley. Please click on the thumbnail above to download the photo in high-resolution. More photos are available for download below or by clicking here

Editor's Note: Please note updated contact information for the public affairs specialist. 

MCMURDO STATION, Antarctica – The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star arrived at the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station Tuesday after cutting a resupply channel through more than 60 miles of Antarctic ice in the Ross Sea.

By carving a navigable path through seasonal and multi-year ice, the Polar Star assists in the annual delivery of operating supplies and fuel for two of NSF's three U.S. research stations in Antarctica.

The Polar Star is America’s only operational heavy icebreaker that is capable of conducting the Antarctic resupply mission. The cutter, which was built more than 40 years ago, has a crew of more than 140 people, is 399-feet long, weighs 13,500 tons and uses 75,000 horsepower to muscle its way through ice thicknesses of up to 21 feet.

In the past few years, the Polar Star’s crew worked through approximately 12 to 13 miles of ice in an effort to reach McMurdo Station. This year, there was more than 60 miles of ice to break, with thickness ranging from two feet to more than 10 feet.

“We experienced a significantly larger ice field this year compared to the last several years,” said Capt. Michael Davanzo, commanding officer of the Polar Star.  “In several areas, the ice was under considerable pressure and covered with several inches of snow, slowing our progress. Despite these challenges, the crew worked around the clock to prepare the resupply channel before the arrival of the first ship.”

Ice placed under pressure by nearby land mass or glacial movement can cause considerable friction, often pinching the vessel between the two plates of ice that the cutter creates during the icebreaking process. Additionally, a snow layer can create resistance between the cutter and the ice, slowing the ship’s progress. 

After refueling at McMurdo Station, the Polar Star crew will continue to develop and maintain the ice channel in preparation of the first of two resupply ships, which are scheduled to arrive in the area in late January.

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star is homeported in Seattle.

To download images below in high-resolution, please click the thumbnail or click here.  

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, with 75,000 horsepower and its 13,500-ton weight, is guided by its crew to break through Antarctic ice en route to the National Science Foundation's McMurdo Station, Jan. 15, 2017. The ship, which was designed more than 40 years ago, remains the world's most powerful non-nuclear icebreaker. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley.    The bow of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star is covered in snow after weathering a whiteout windstorm with wind gusts of up to 130 mph off of Antarctica, Jan. 14, 2017. The crew of the Polar Star worked through the storm to establish a resupply route to the National Science Foundation's McMurdo Station. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley.

The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star cuts through Antarctic ice in the Ross Sea near a large group of seals as the ship’s crew creates a navigation channel for supply ships, Jan. 16, 2017. The resupply channel is an essential part of the yearly delivery of essential supplies to the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley. 

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star operates near two seals off the shore of Antarctica, Jan. 16, 2017. Seeing wildlife unique to Antarctica is one of the many highlights that the cutter’s crew experiences during their yearly deployment to the southern continent. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley. The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star, the Coast Guard’s only operational heavy icebreaker capable of conducting Antarctic ice operations, carves a channel in Antarctic ice near the coast of Ross Island, Jan. 16, 2017. The cutter is an integral part of the yearly operation to resupply the National Science Foundation’s McMurdo Station. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley. The Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star (WAGB-10) and crew create a navigable channel through the frozen Ross Sea off of Antarctica, Jan. 16, 2017. The 399-foot icebreaker is the Coast Guard’s only operational heavy icebreaker capable of conducting Antarctic icebreaking operations. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley. A ring buoy sits at the ready as the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Polar Star conducts icebreaking operations off the coast of Antarctica, Jan. 16, 2017. Homeported in Seattle, the Polar Star is the Coast Guard’s only operational heavy icebreaker. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Chief Petty Officer David Mosley.

Coast Guard warns of coastal hazards in Southern California

Wed, 01/18/2017 - 08:21

LOS ANGELES — The Coast Guard warns beachgoers and boaters of a heavy coastal hazard warning issued by the National Weather Service for Southern California beaches. The coastal hazard warning will remain in effect from late Wednesday evening until Monday evening. 

A large west to northwest swell will continue to move across California coastal waters. Heavy weather and high surf will affect all west and northwest facing beaches beginning Wednesday evening through Monday evening. Surf is expected to build to 20 to 30 feet with the highest surf occurring on beaches with west exposure Friday and Saturday evenings.

Beachgoers are advised to use extreme caution when walking near the water. The Coast Guard recommends that during this period of high surf, beachgoers remain well clear of the beach and shore where waves make landfall. Large waves and strong rip currents will also increase the risk of ocean drowning. Sneaker waves can suddenly wash people off of beaches, rocks or jetties and capsize small boats near shore. Large shore break can lead to injury and wave run-up.

If you witness an individual swept into the current, do not take your eyes off the person and do not attempt to rescue them by entering the water, call 911 immediately.

Remember, swim near a lifeguard. If caught in a rip current, remain calm and don’t fight the current. Swim in a direction following the shoreline.

In the event that your vessel or someone aboard your vessel is in distress, call the Coast Guard on VHF channel 16, or call the Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach Command Center at 310-521-3805

The advisory can be found on the National Weather Service's website which is located at http://www.weather.gov.

The Coast Guard urges mariners to always: 

  • Wear life jackets while on the water.

  • Always have a working marine-band radio on board.

  • Carry marine flares on board the vessel.

  • Ensure bilge pumps are operational and vessels are secure for heavy winds and rain.

  • Stay Informed - The public should be aware of weather conditions and monitor progress through local television, radio and internet. Check the current and expected weather and water conditions before heading out, and be aware that weather conditions can quickly change.

  • File a float plan with friends, family members and local marinas before heading out. The list should include the number of passengers aboard the vessel, vessel's destination and expected time of return.

 For more information on boating safety, visit www.uscgboating.org.

Multimedia Release: Coast Guard rescues 2 from downed aircraft near Pilot Point, Alaska

Tue, 01/17/2017 - 22:33
Editor's Note: To view or download imagery, please click on the images below. Downloading from DVIDS requires free registration.

Coast Guard suspends search for capsized vessel near Dania Beach Pier

Tue, 01/17/2017 - 15:04

MIAMI — The Coast Guard suspended their search Tuesday at 11:16 a.m. for a capsized vessel near Dania Beach Pier. 

Coast Guard Sector Miami watch standers received notification from the Broward Sheriff's Office at 7:48 p.m. Monday that a good Samaritan reported a 15-foot boat capsized near Dania Beach Pier.

A Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale 45-foot Response Boat—Medium crew, the Coast Guard Cutter Dolphin crew, a Coast Guard Air Station Miami MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew, Broward County Sheriff's Office and Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue personnel assisted with the search.

For breaking news follow us on Twitter @USCGSoutheast

Update: Coast Guard suspends search for missing diver off Big Island

Tue, 01/17/2017 - 13:17

HONOLULU — The Coast Guard suspended the search Tuesday morning for a diver who was reported missing by a good Samaritan off Pahoehoe Beach, Big Island.

No missing persons or reports of distress have been reported in the area.

On-scene assets conducted a total of nine searches covering 175 square miles.

Involved in the search were:
- MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Coast Guard Air Station Barbers Point, Oahu.
- Crews of USCGC Kiska (WPB 1336) from Hilo, Big Island.
- A helicopter, rescue boat and ground crews from Hawaii County Fire Department. 

The initial call was made Monday at 2:11 p.m., to the Hawaii County Fire Department who relayed the report to watchstanders at the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center. An Urgent Marine Information Broadcast was issued alerting mariners in the area to keep a sharp lookout and report any sightings to the Sector Honolulu command center and Coast Guard crews were dispatched to begin their search. 

The good Samaritan said the man was caucasian, looked to be in his early 20s, about 150 pounds with red hair. He is reportedly wearing blue board shorts and a white rash guard with blue lettering. The man was last seen at 12:40 p.m. leaving the beach to swim out to the farthest rocks with fins, a mask, diving gear and a back up regulator. 

The good Samaritan watched since the diver was going out alone, did not have a float or any safety gear and noticed, based on experience, the diver only had enough air for a maximum of 80 minutes. After two hours, the good Samaritan reported the diver overdue to Hawaii Fire Department.

Weather conditions were initially reported as 10 mph winds with waves at 2 feet and approximately 6 miles of visibility.

Coast Guard searching for capsized vessel near Dania Beach Pier

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 18:56

MIAMI — The Coast Guard is searching for a capsized vessel Monday near Dania Beach Pier. 

Coast Guard Sector Miami watch standers received notification from the Broward Sheriff's Office at 7:48 p.m. Monday that a good Samaritan reported a 15-foot boat capsized near Dania Beach Pier. The watch standers issued an urgent marine information broadcast, launched a Station Fort Lauderdale 45-foot Response Boat Medium crew and diverted the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Dolphin.

Broward County Sheriff's Office and Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue personnel are assisting with the search.

For breaking news follow us on Twitter @USCGSoutheast

Coast Guard, local responders searching for overdue diver off Big Island

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 18:07

HONOLULU — Coast Guard and Hawaii Fire Department are searching for an overdue diver off Pohoehoe Beach, Big Island, Sunday.

A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew  launched and is searching the surrounding areas. The crew from USCGC Kiska (WPB 1336) is also en route to assist in the search.

The Hawaii Fire Department is also searching with helicopter, rescue boat and ground crews. An Urgent Marine Information Broadcast has been issued alerting mariners in the area to keep a sharp lookout and report any sightings to the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center.

Anyone with information that may help locate the diver is asked to contact the Sector Honolulu command center at 808-842-2600.

The initial call was made to Hawaii Fire Department by a good samaritan who is an experienced diver. The good samaritan said the man was caucasian, looked to be in his early 20s, about 150 pounds with red hair. He is reportedly wearing blue board shorts and a white rash guard with blue lettering. The man was last seen at 12:40 p.m. leaving the beach to swim out to the farthest rocks with fins, a mask, diving gear and a back up regulator. 

The good samaritan watched since the diver was going out alone, did not have a float or any safety gear and noticed, based on experience, the diver only had enough air for a maximum of 80 minutes. After two hours, the good samaritan reported the diver overdue to Hawaii Fire Department who relayed the report to watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu command center at 2:11 p.m.

Weather conditions are currently reported as 10 mph winds with waves at 2 feet and approximately 6 miles of visibility.

UPDATE 2: Coast Guard and good Samaritan respond to vessel fire

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 15:40

NEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard and good Samaritans are responding to the report of a vessel on fire approximately 150 miles south of Southwest Pass, Louisiana, Monday. 

The Alliance St. Louis is currently on emergency back-up power, which allows minimum crew needs to be met after they suffered an electrical fire in the engine room that has been extinguished. 

The 20 crewmembers aboard the Alliance St. Louis are all accounted for with no reported injuries or medical conditions.

Coast Guard Sector New Orleans is maintaining a 2-hour communications schedule with the vessel and are boadcasting a notice to transiting vessels every 12 hours via VH-F channel 16.

A good Samaritan integrated tug, Mariya Moran, is on scene for safety with the vessel. The Alliance St. Louis is currently awaiting the tug, Crosby Endeavor, to arrive on scene to tow the vessel to Port Arthur, Texas.

At approximately 10:00 a.m. Coast Guard Cutter Brant got underway to provide additional assistance and to relieve the Mariya Moran. 

No injuries or pollution has been reported.

Coast Guard Morgan City Marine Safety Unit inspectors and investigators are investigating the cause of the incident. 

PHOTO RELEASE: Coast Guard and good Samaritan responds to vessel fire

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 13:53

The Coast Guard and good Samaritans are responding to the report of a vessel on fire approximately 150 miles south of Southwest Pass, Louisiana, Monday. No injuries or pollution has been reported.

(Coast Guard imagery courtesy of Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile)

The Coast Guard and good Samaritans are responding to the report of a vessel on fire approximately 150 miles south of Southwest Pass, Louisiana, Monday. No injuries or pollution has been reported.

(Coast Guard imagery courtesy of Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile)

The Coast Guard and good Samaritans are responding to the report of a vessel on fire approximately 150 miles south of Southwest Pass, Louisiana, Monday. No injuries or pollution has been reported.

(Coast Guard imagery courtesy of Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile)

The Coast Guard and good Samaritans are responding to the report of a vessel on fire approximately 150 miles south of Southwest Pass, Louisiana, Monday. No injuries or pollution has been reported.

(Coast Guard imagery courtesy of Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile)

The Coast Guard and good Samaritans are responding to the report of a vessel on fire approximately 150 miles south of Southwest Pass, Louisiana, Monday. No injuries or pollution has been reported.

(Coast Guard imagery courtesy of Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile)

UPDATE: Coast Guard and good Samaritan responds to vessel fire

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 12:54
NEW ORLEANS – The Coast Guard and good Samaritans are responding to the report of a vessel on fire approximately 150 miles south of Southwest Pass, Louisiana, Monday.    The Alliance St. Louis is currently on emergency power after suffering an electrical fire in the engine room and is drifting approximately 135 miles southwest of Southwest Pass with 20 crewmembers aboard and safely accounted for.   A good Samaritan integrated tug, Mariya Moran, is on scene for safety with the vessel. The Alliance St. Louis is currently awaiting the tug, Crosby Endeavor, to arrive on scene to tow the vessel to Port Arthur, Texas.   Coast Guard Aviation Training Center Mobile launched an HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircrew who conducted an over flight of the vessel and confirmed that the fire had been extinguished by the crewmembers.   At approximately 10:00 a.m. Coast Guard Cutter Brant got underway to provide additional assistance and to relieve the Mariya Moran.    No injuries or pollution has been reported.

Coast Guard suspends search for father and son swept out to sea near Cape Blanco, Ore.

Mon, 01/16/2017 - 11:04

An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Sector North Bend searches for a father and son who were swept out to sea near Cape Blanco, Jan. 15, 2016.

Multiple Coast Guard helicopter crews, a 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew from Coast Guard Station Coos Bay, Oregon State Police, Curry County Sheriff's Office, Sixes River Fire Department and Port Orford Fire Department personnel, also assisted in the search.

Photo courtesy of Oregon State Police.



An MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Sector North Bend, Ore., and first responders on all-terrain vehicles from Oregon State Police, Curry County Sheriff's Office, Sixes River Fire Department and Port Orford Fire Department, search for a father and son who were swept out to sea near Cape Blanco, Jan. 15, 2016.

Watchstanders at sector received the initial report at 12:58 p.m. of two people in the water from the wife and mother, after she observed them being swept out to sea.

Photo courtesy of Oregon State Police.

NORTH BEND, Ore. — The Coast Guard suspended its search at 11:51 a.m. Monday, for a 31-year-old father and 3-year-old son from the Eugene area, who were swept out to sea from a Boice Cope County Park beach, 4 miles north of Cape Blanco, Ore., Sunday. Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crews from Sector North Bend and Air Facility Newport, as well as a 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew from Station Coos Bay searched 112 square miles for over 22 hours, covering 583 total miles in an effort to locate them. Oregon State Police, Curry County Sheriff's Office, Sixes River Fire Department and Port Orford Fire Department personnel assisted in the search by scouring the beach on all-terrain vehicles. Click here for the initial news release.

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